I should probably provide a little background about my history of cell phones first. To date I have put two in the washer, lost one on my birthday in a drunken stupor at a bar, and had one stolen while I was eating lunch at a cafe. Needless to say I am no stranger to having to replace my cell. Nowadays there is so much personal information on your cell, apps that allow you to remotely locate, wipe, and/or lock your phone are more important than ever. But do they really work?
So a few weeks ago I was at the playground with the family, and while I was sitting on the ground my iPhone must have slipped out of my pocket. I went home, gone through the usual night-time routine (dinner, bath, bedtime), and wanted to check my phone for messages. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Then I figured I’d see if it’s even in the house using the Find My iPhone app. Lo and behold, it says it’s still by the playground! I run back, retrace my steps, calling it with my wife’s phone … nothing. Now the playground is part of an apartment complex, so I figure a good samaritan at the playground must have picked it up. Sure enough, I send a message to the phone saying if found please call my wife’s number, and minutes later a get a call from a father who I remember seeing at the playground. Disaster averted. Whew!
While in this instance I was able to retrieve my phone, would I have been so lucky if it wasn’t lost at a playground? I doubt it. If someone had popped out my SIM card before I realized it was lost, I wouldn’t be able to communicate with the phone at all. So yes, Find My iPhone and similar apps are great, but it also relies on a kind-hearted person finding it.